Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK Everybody in New York knows Bill Cunningham, but nobody knows anything about him. The delightful subject of this Richard Press documentary is an 80-year-old NY Times photographer who bikes around the city all day snapping photos for his two weekly Sunday Style columns—one on high-fashion society events, the other on the spontaneous style he finds in the streets—a gig he’s had for 40 years. (“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour.) Living a Spartan, single existence in a tiny flat above Carnegie Hall, his entire life is his work, sniffing out style and creating and lionizing fashion icons in his weekly photo montages, all with chipper enthusiasm, self-deprecating aplomb, and no pretensions of any kind. Deep mysteries and melancholy are hinted at in his past and upbringing, but Bill emerges heroic as a person who persists, with good humor and high spirits, to march to his own unique drummer. (Not rated) 84 minutes. (★★★1/2) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Reviewed this issue. (Not rated) 90 minutes. (★★★) Starts Friday.
THE HANGOVER PART II Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha return as buddies attempting yet another bachelor party—this time in Bangkok, Thailand— in Todd Phillips’ sequel to his mega-hit 2009 comedy. Paul Giamatti co-stars. (R) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
The always watchable Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a misanthropic, foul-mouthed loser who drifts into the lives of a little boy and his recently widowed father (Rainn Wilson) and begins to alter the course of their lives. Rookie Spencer Susser co-wrote and directed this dark indie drama. Natalie Portman, veteran Piper Laurie, and little Devin Brochu co-star. (R) 100 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer
HOBO WTH A SHOTGUN It started out as a fake B-movie trailer in he “Grindhouse Trailer” competition at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Fest. Now it’s a real movie—more or less—starring Rutger Hauer as the eponymous drifter who grabs a shotgun & starts bringing rough justice to a lawless town. Jason Eisener directs. (Not rated.) 86 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
The bears are back in town; Jack Black returns as the voice of Po, cuddly Chinese panda-turned-mystic warrior, whose happy life guarding the Valley of Peace is threatened when he and his cohorts must rally to stop a new villain. Jennifer Yuh directs this sequel to the hit animated family comedy. Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogan, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dustin Hoffman join the large supporting voice cast. (PG) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
MOVIE TIMES 5/27–6/2
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
Water for Elephants 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30 + Sat-Mon 11:30am
Everything Must Go 2:50, 5, 7:20, 9:20 + Sat-Mon 12:40
Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:10 + Sat-Mon 12:15
Jurassic Park Friday & Saturday night Midnight showing
The Beaver 4:50
13 Assassins 2:20, 6:50, 9:20 + sat-Mon 11:50am
Hobo with a Shotgun 3:20, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat-Mon 1:20
Bill Cunningham New York 3:10, 5:10, 7:10, 9 + Sat-Mon 1:10
Hesher 2:30, 4:40, 7, 9:10 + Sat-Mon noon
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Bridesmaids 1:40, 4:15, 6:50, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
The Conspirator 1:50, 6:40
Win Win 4:20, 9:10
Splendor in the Glass Classic on the Big Screen Sat, Sun 11am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Kung Fu Panda 3D 1, 3, 5:05, 7:15, 9:30 + Fri- Mon 11am
Kung Fu Panda 35mm 1:10, 3:10, 5:15, 7:25, 9:40 + Fri-Mon 11:10am
Pirates of the Caribbean 3D 1, 4, 7, 10 + Fri-Mon 10am
Pirates of the Caribbean 35mm 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10 + Fri-Mon 10:10am
Thor 3D 1:30, 4, + Fri-Mon 11am
Bridesmaids 1:30, 4, 6:30, 9 + Fri-Mon 11am
Hangover 2 1, 1:30, 3:30, 4, 6:30, 7, 9, 9:30 + Fri-Mon 10:30am, 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 11:55am, 12:30, 3:15, 3:45, 6:30, 7, 9:30, 10:10
The Hangover Part 2 11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10
Kung Fu Panda 2 11:55am, 2:10, 4:30, 6:45, 9
Bridesmaid 11:20am, 2, 4:40, 7:20, 10
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3D 12:30, 3:45, 7, 10:15
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Kung Fu Panda 2 3D Wed May 25 11:59
Kung Fu Panda 2 3D 11:55am, 2:30, 4:55, 7:15, 9:30
The Hangover Part 2 Wed May 25 11:59
The Hangover Part 2 11:45am, 2:10, 4:40, 7:30, 10
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 12:30, 3:45, 7, 10
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Hangover 2 12:20, 2:15, 2:45, 4:40, 5:30, 7:25, 8, 9:55, 10:30, 12:25
Hangover 2 11:30am, 1:25, 2, 3:55, 4:50, 6:45, 7:20, 9:15, 9:50, 11:45
Kung Fu Panda 3D noon, 1:45, 2:20, 4:05, 4:40, 6:25, 7, 8:45, 9:20
Kung Fu Panda 12:40, 2:25, 3, 4:45, 5:20, 7:05, 7:40, 9:25, 10
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3D
1, 3:30, 4:05, 6:35, 7:10, 9:40, 10:15, 12:45
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
12:10, 1:40, 2:40, 3:30, 4:10, 4:45, 6, 6:40, 7:15, 7:50, 9:10, 9:45, 10:20, 12:15
Thor 3D 11am, 1:10, 1:50, 4, 4:30, 6:40, 7:30, 9:40, 10:20, 12:30
Thor 1:10, 3:20, 3:50, 6, 6:50, 9, 9:35, 11:45
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Bridesmaids 1, 4, 7, 9:50 + Mon–Thurs no 1
Fast Five 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:20 + Mon – Thurs no 12:45
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: JURASSIC PARK (PG-13) 127 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
CONTINUING SERIES: WEEKEND MATINEE CLASSICS AT APTOS CINEMA If you’ve only ever seen them on TV, don’t miss this series of classic movie matinees unspooling each weekend at Aptos Cinema. This week: SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS . (Not rated) 124 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Sat-Sun matinee only, 11 a.m. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.
CONTINUING SERIES: FLASHBACK FEATURES Oldies and goodies on Thursday nights at the Cinema 9, presented by your genial host, Joe Ferrara. $5 gets you in. This week: CHRISTINE John Carpenter directs this wry 1983 treatment of the Stephen King horror thriller about a nerdy teenage boy and his demonic ’58 Plymouth Fury. (R) 110 minutes.—Lisa Jensen. Tonight (Thursday, May 26) only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.
CONTINUING SERIES: THE MET: LIVE IN HD AT THE CINEMA 9 ENCORE: DIE WALKÜRE This second installment of Robert Lepage’s massive new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle stars Bryn Terfel as Wotan, Lord of the Gods, and Deborah Voigt as Brunnhilde. Jonas Kaufmann, Eva-Maria Westbroek, and Stephanie Blythe also sing principal roles. James Levine conducts. ENCORE: Wednesday (June 1) at 6:30 p.m.
CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES This informal movie discussion group meets at the Del Mar mezzanine in downtown Santa Cruz. Movie junkies are invited to join in on Wednesday nights to discuss current flicks with a rotating series of guest moderators. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
BRIDESMAIDS One the best comedies of the year. Clever. Well written. Wonderfully executed. Kristen Wiig, who also cowrotes this comedy, plays a romantically-challenged woman suddenly caught in her best friend’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding arrangements.. Determined to be the best maid of honor, she, naturally, screws up. All that ensues is hilarious. But the film actually sports some real heart and, quite smoothly, delivers a sobering look at what women go through in relationships—of all kinds. This has to be one of the best supporting casts to hit the screen in a long tims. Beyond Rudolph, the typically tepid Rose Byrne outdoes herself. There’s Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper and an amazing Melissa McCarthy—watch out for this one! The late Jill Clayburgh also co-stars. Wiig co-Paul Feig directs. (R) (★★★) Greg Archer
THE CONSPIRATOR Robin Wright’s fierce dignity as a boarding house proprietress charged with conspiracy in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and James McAvoy as the conflicted Union war hero defending her at a military tribunal, highlight Robert Redford’s historical drama. The witch-hunt to blame and punish scapegoats in times of national crisis make the story timely, but Redford is too meticulous a craftsman to beat us over the head with these comparisons; he lets the story unfold at its own pace, with his usual eye for period detail and sense of restraint. There may be a whiff of staid earnestness about the whole thing, but the actors are engaging, the story is gripping, and the film achieves moments of quiet power. (PG-13) 123 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
EVERYTHING MUST GO Will Ferrell stars in this comedy-drama as a guy who loses his job on the same day his wife kicks him out and throws all his stuff out on the lawn. He decides to take up residence in his front yard indefinitely, selling off his possessions in an ongoing yard sale, as he tries to figure out how to rebuild his life. Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace, and Laura Dern co-star for rookie writer-director Dan Rush. (R) 96 minutes.
FAST FIVE Don’t freak out: It’s actually pretty good. I gave up on the franchise after the first sequel, but alas, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel team up again for another zoom fest that warrants another look. It’sa nice look, actually—fast cars (of course) motorcycles, unlawful acts and a wildly inviting bank heist. How can you resist? Good news: The script is well written and the characters are all engaging. And all this set against a sexy backdrop in Rio. Nice. Added to the mix this round: Dwayne (Rock) Johnson, who plays a federal agent on “Fast” team’s trail. Justin Lin directs. (PG-13) 130 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
I AM An uplifting doc that dares to ask: What’s right with the world? Filmmaker Tom Shadyac, who was more of a mainstream film director, seems to want to come to terms with life here—he survived a tragic accident and suddenly got to thinking more deeply. There are some fine moments in the film and it works because the director takes us along his journey, rather than trying to force feed us his opinions. (PG) 76 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
MEEK’S CUTOFF Well-composed, full of respect for the natural world, and concerned with minute, almost non-verbal relationships, Kelly Reichardt’s historical drama set in the Oregon Territory ca. 1840s follows a small wagon train in search of the Willamette Valley. She’s at her best conveying the stoic resolve of the pioneers and the sheer arduousness of life on the trail, but there’s not much going on onscreen (despite capable actors like Michelle Williams and Will Patton). Part morality play, part vaguely realized political allegory, with a few trace elements of proto-feminism sprinkled in, it’s still little more than a premise that never develops into an actual story. (PG) 104 minutes. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
NUREMBERG: ITS LESSON FOR TODAY This 1948 documentary of the famous 1945 Nazi war crimes trial was made for the U. S. Government under the auspices of the OSS War Crimes film unit headed by John Ford. Director Stuart Schulberg’s film is the ultimate courtroom drama, as well as detailing how the international prosecutors built their case against the Nazis using much of the propaganda film footage the Nazis themselves produced. This is a newly restored and reconstituted print of the film created by Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletzky for presentation at the 60th anniversary of the Berlin International Film Festival. (Not rated) 80 minutes. In English, German, French, and Russian, with English subtitles.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES Little remains of Tim Powers’ gorgeous fantasy, On Stranger Tides, in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Still, incoming director Rob Marshall’s film is a more seaworthy vessel than the leaky old rustbucket that was PotC 3. Johnny Depp’s reeling and raucous Captain Jack Sparrow is front and center, providing droll commentary and having a blast. Penelope Cruz is on board as the daughter of legendary pirate Blackbeard—played with dark, ferocious brio by Ian McShane. Geoffrey Rush is back, stomping around on a peg leg in a powdered wig as pirate Barbarossa-turned-privateer, and the action is more focused: everyone is searching for the Fountain of Youth. But longtime scriptwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio don’t so much craft a narrative plot as string a bunch of gigantic comedy set-pieces together; when it comes to basics, like character motivation, they’re clueless. Jack in particular is just along for the ride, and while he’s an entertaining companion, you’d think that after nearly a dozen hours of screen time in four movies, the writers could develop a more complex character for Depp to play. As to his pairing with Cruz, they argue and swordfight, but are never allowed to graduate into a grown-up relationship, or even display any real camaraderie. Locations (mostly in Hawaii) are ravishing, and everyone seems to be having a hell of a good time; too bad there isn’t a bit more there there. (PG-13) 137 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. (Read a longer reviews at Lisa Jensen Online Express: ljo-express.blogspot.com)
POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD Morgan Spurlock set out to see if he could finance an entire film through what is now called “co-promotion” with a variety of brand-name sponsors, exploring the shadow world of corporate marketing and delving into just how far an artist is willing to prostitute his morals, credibility, and his art in order to secure financing. But it’s a great concept in search of a payoff. Spurlock touches on a lot of intriguing ideas about consumerist culture and corporate clout, but the film lacks focus (most of the meandering action takes place in corporate boardrooms), while a faux dilemma he sets up about creative control, and other shenanigans, make us wonder in what other ways he’s skewing his content for effect. (PG-13) 90 minutes. (★★ 1/2) Lisa Jensen
THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER Veteran French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (A Sunday In the Country; ‘Round Midnight) directs this lush historical drama set during the Protestant-Catholic civil wars of 16th Century France. Mélanie Thierry stars as a young woman learning to navigate the world and wargames of men. Although in love with her dashing cousin, she’s forced by her father into an arranged marriage with a nobleman she doesn’t know. When he leaves for the war, she’s left in the care of an aging courtier who despises war and schools her in the intricacies of court life. Lambert Wilson (the head monk in Of Gods and Men), and Gaspard Ulliel (the missing amnesiac lover in A Very Long Engagement) co-star. (Not rated) 139 minutes. In French with English subtitles.
PRIEST In a dystopian future (is there any other kind?) in an alternate universe, a loner priest (Paul Bettany) defies church law to hunt the vampire brood who kidnapped his niece. Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, and Maggie Q co-star for director Scott Charles Stewart (Legion). (PG-13) 87 minutes.
QUEEN TO PLAY A middle-aged wife, mother, and hotel maid on the luscious island of Corsica unexpectedly discovers herself while learning the game of chess in this charming and contemplative French drama with a touch of magic realism. Sandrine Bonnaire plays the heroine as poised and pragmatic, yet simmering with untapped potential, who responds intuitively to the intricacies and strategies of chess as if to a lover’s carress. (Not rated) 97 minutes. In French with English subtitles. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
RIO Brazilian animation director Carlos Saldanha (the first three Ice Age movies) turns to more familiar turf with this CGI comedy about a domesticated pet macaw (voice of Jesse Eisenberg) on the adventure of a lifetime with a free-spirited female (Anne Hathaway) and a flock of exotic wild birds in Rio de Janeiro. Jamie Foxx, Jane Lynch, George Lopez, and Will i Am contribute voices. (PG) 96 minutes.
13 ASSASSINS In this samurai action sage from director Takashi Miike, a lone samurai is hired to take down a cruel and evil overlord, and assembles a ragtag crew of misfit warriors to help him storm the overlord’s fortress. Mayhem ensues. Koji Yakusho (Shall We Dance?; Babel), Takayuki Yamada, and Goro Inagaki star. (R) 141 minutes. In Japanese with English subtitles.
THOR Chris Hemsworth stars as the mythical Norse warrior god of the long-running Marvel comic, banished to Earth to live among humans, whom he must protect from an evil villain. Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Kat Dennings co-star; Kenneth Branagh (of all people!) directs. (PG-13)
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS The bones of a satisfying romantic suspense story underlie Francis Lawrence’s evocative film adaptation Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel about passion and mayhem under the Big Top during the Depression 1930s. The movie may not be one hundred per-cent effective in its storytelling or its central romance, but it’s steeped in period atmosphere and conveys a keen sense of the knockabout gypsy life of a traveling circus. Robert Pattinson is appropriately youthful, stalwart, and gutsy as the veterinary student taken in to tend the circus animals. His relationship with Reese Witherspoon’s glamorous bareback rider never quite catches fire (although Christophe Waltz’s silky psychosis as her owner/ringmaster husband generates plenty of tension) but Pattinson’s deep affection for Rosie, the soulful elephant, is most convincing. Theirs is the most passionate and tender relationship in the film, and hers the story we care most about. (R) 122 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
WIN WIN Paul Giamatti stars in, yet again, a standout film about a character trying to come to terms with what life is handing him. GIamatti is a lawyer and volunteer high school wrestling coach who winds up caring for a displaced teen (newcomer Alex Shaffer). He decides to mold the boy into a star athlete. There’s an interesting back story, too, about the boy’s grandfather and mother.. Written and directed by quirk-meister Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent; The Visitor). Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Bobby Cannavale, and Melanie Lynskey co-star. (R) 106 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer